When it comes to the online reputation of your mortgage brokerage, there is no shortage of platforms you can use to build the number of reviews you receive and tools you can use to monitor those reviews. With so many to choose from, the question becomes which platforms and what monitoring tools are the ones you want to focus on for your brokerage? Today we want to share with you the platforms you should hone in on and some great monitoring tools you can use to make the management of your online reputation that much easier.
Review Collection Platforms For Your Mortgage Business
Yelp is a massive review site. It’s evolved from merely a review site to a one-stop-shop that provides a comprehensive set of services for consumers. Every mortgage broker has to have a Yelp profile.
When it comes to online review sites, authenticity is a very important factor. People want to believe in the site they are visiting and want to feel like the reviews are from real customers and have honest feedback in them. To ensure the authenticity of the reviews, Yelp has adopted a proprietary, secret automated review management algorithm that decides which reviews are shown and which are filtered out. To further their pursuit of authenticity, they also prohibit business owners from soliciting positive reviews from customers to preserve the fairness and transparency of the platform.
Claiming your business on Yelp is fairly straight forward. When you do so, you’ll then be able to respond to reviewers with a direct message or public comment, track leads that Yelp generates for your mortgage business and add things like photos and links to your website to give people that visit your business profile a better overall user experience.
Reviews on Google provide valuable information about your mortgage services to both you and your customers. Business reviews appear next to your listing in Maps and Search, and can help your business stand out on Google, boosting your local SEO <<NOTE: LINK THIS TO THE LOCAL SEO ARTICLE>>.
Unlike Yelp, Google encourages business owners to request reviews. Using a short URL that is custom to your mortgage company, you can request reviews from customers.
Much like Yelp, claiming your business profile is pretty straight forward. When you log in for the first time, you want to verify your business information is correct. Until you go through their verification process, you will not be able to respond to client reviews.
As part of your loan closing process, you should set up a procedure when you let your clients know (via email and in-person) that it’s quick and easy for them to leave you a review on Google. They can do it from their computer, or even on their mobile device if they are on the run.
Every mortgage broker should already have a Facebook Business Page. What many brokers don’t focus on however is the fact that you can collect online reviews on the page. Online reviews on Facebook are important because they help build your social profile and reinforce any social media marketing you have in place. They maintain consistency across your online reputation. If somebody reads a review from a third-party review site, and they visit your Facebook page and see more reviews that are similar to what they found elsewhere, it improves the level of brand authenticity in their minds.
While it is possible that reviews aren’t turned on for your business page by default, in a few simple steps you can go into your settings page and enable reviews for your mortgage business.
Unlike Yelp and expanding on Google, Facebook gives you great ways to solicit reviews from clients you are working with. The first way Facebook encourages businesses to request reviews is by sending review invitation requests through their platform. This makes it very easy to send multiple review requests in a matter of seconds. They also encourage businesses to put occasional posts on their business pages specifically asking people to leave a review. The truth is if you don’t ask for a review, you won’t get it. You’d be surprised how many people would take a moment to leave you a review, simply because you asked for it.
Zillow owns the online home search space. According to Inman, each month, nearly a quarter of all online house hunters visit Zillow. Zillow’s long-standing consumer focus, mobile device friendliness and massive social platform help make it one of the most-used Web-based real estate resources. As a result, it’s a no-brainer why you want to make sure your mortgage profile is up to date on this site.
On Zillow, rather than claiming a profile, you’ll likely have to follow steps to create a profile. The profiles are free and they are a great spot you can use to collect reviews. With the popularity of the site, you can ensure that these reviews will be frequently viewed by potential clients.
Many mortgage brokers add Zillow to part of their closing process, asking clients if they would mind leaving them a review on their Zillow Profile. While not as easy to leave as a Google Review, the process with Zillow is pretty quick and easy, so simply asking is likely to be all it will take to get someone to leave you a review.
LendingTree provides a comprehensive resource to consumers of ratings and reviews for loan agents and mortgage brokers to help them choose the right loan company for their home financing needs. Unlike platforms like Yelp and Google reviews that house reviews for businesses in a myriad of industries, LendingTree focuses specifically on financial borrowing needs. Their website functions more like a travel website that allows consumers to compare multiple offerings, side by side to find the deal that is best for them.
They have prepared a detailed document for brokers that want to claim and set up their online profile. Once you’ve claimed your profile, the process for obtaining past and current client reviews is somewhat similar to Facebooks review invitation process. LendingTree encourages mortgage brokers to use their built-in email tool to send emails to their database with a request to leave a review on their profile.
When setting up your profile on this platform, best practice would include adding your LinkedIn profile, as well as any other promotional materials you can use to promote your brokerage.
Somewhat similar to Yelp, all reviews submitted are reviewed to ensure the content in the review is appropriate and relevant. They actually have opted out of using an algorithm to do this process and instead have instituted a policy where two human moderators review each submission. This means the entire process can take 3-5 days.
Online Reputation Monitoring Tools
Once you’ve claimed and optimized these main online review sites, it’s time to put some tools in place to make the ongoing monitoring of your online reputation less time consuming and manageable, given your busy day to day life doing loans for your clients. Here are a few of our favorites:
Google Alerts is a free tool that helps you keep a finger on the pulse of what people are saying about you and your mortgage business. Setting up alerts about your brand, the platform will notify you anytime your business name is mentioned online. Additionally, if you want to do competitive analysis of your marketplace, you can also set up alerts with your competitor’s names and when they are mentioned online, you’ll receive alerts about them as well.
Google is the largest search engine on planet earth. Because of this, practically any search term you can put into the system will return results because if it’s out there, Google has indexed it. Thanks to the power of Google’s vast user demographics data, Alerts enables you to target users by language and locale, so it works well if your brokerage has multiple locations.
While it is a free platform, and free is great, one downside to Google Alerts is the fact that it’s a little more tedious to set up and manage search terms than the other cloud-based, SaaS platforms detailed below.
Awario is a social listening tool that makes managing your brokerage’s online reputation very easy. This platform tracks mentions of your mortgage brokerage across all major social networks and on the web in real-time. Even better, you can respond to reviews, no matter what channel they came in from, directly from the platform itself.
Using AI (Artificial Intelligence), Awario helps you prioritize online mentions by analyzing the sentiment of what was posted. They have a really easy to understand dashboard that gives you a great visual representation of the positive (and negative) mentions of your business. This gives you the power to pinpoint spikes in activity and effectively deal with it.
Awario offers 3 plans: Starter for individuals ($29/mo), Pro for SMBs ($89/mo), and Enterprise for agencies and big brands ($299/mo). If you go with an annual plan, you’ll get 2 months for free. They also have a free trial period you can take advantage of to test the platform out.
While the interface may look like something similar to a social media tool like Hootsuite, Reputology does so much more. Reputology helps mortgage brokers track their online reviews. Apart from the common review platforms like Google and Facebook Reviews, Reputology monitors industry-specific review sites, so you can load in all your mortgage-related review sites and manage reviews for those as well. When you get a new review, you can easily respond to the review from the application interface.
Reputology also works great for larger brokerages that have multiple locations and would like to keep the reviews for each of their locations in one single place. You can click to drill down to a particular location and examine why it may not be performing as well as others, helping you assess and optimize your mortgage company’s overall reputation.
Reputology charges from $10 to $49/mo for every location. Much like Awario, they also provide a trial period that allows you to test out the platform.
Set Your Online Reputation Management Up For Success
While there are many steps to securing and optimizing all the platforms that help form your mortgage company’s online reputation, if you take the steps to do it correctly the first time and then find the ways that allow you to frequently monitor, reply and be involved in your online reputation, you will grow your online visibility, attract more leads and close more deals than you ever have before. Use this guide, get started and start increasing your online reputation today.